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Captiva Erosion Prevention District conducts post-Irma beach survey

By Staff | Oct 18, 2017

Due to changes on the beach caused by Hurricane Irma last month, the Captiva Erosion Prevention District hired APTIM Coastal Planning & Engineering last week to conduct a physical monitoring survey to assess the impact the storm had on Captiva.

“We were out on the beaches before the impact of the storm, we wanted to take pre-storm photos so that we could document any losses we had. Fortunately, too, the board had a beach survey done in May of this year so we have lots of documentation to show the pre-storm conditions of our beaches, that’s very important if you’re doing any type of claim,” said Kathy Rooker, administrator of the Captiva Erosion Prevention District.

Rooker said she saw a major deflation of the beach following the storm.

“We feel it’s several feet lower than it was before. You also can see that evidence by looking at the dunes. The dunes did a good job, the water isn’t up in your backyard or on your porch and that’s what the dunes are there to do. Will the dunes get damaged in a major storm like this? Absolutely, but they’re the first defender for that surge coming into your yard and into your home. They did their job, but they paid a price for it too though. There is escarpment along most of the dunes,” Rooker said.

Rooker said that from a visual perspective, she believes Captiva lost about 100,000 cubic yards of sand, and replacing it isn’t cheap. Replacing the sand costs $18 per cubic yard and that price doesn’t include the cost of a dredger.

“That’s a lot of sand and it’s worth a lot of money,” Rooker said.

APTIM will survey all five miles of Captiva’s beaches at each profile line. They will be both on land and in the water. Rooker said the Captiva Erosion Prevention District’s board will pay for the survey. She is also hoping the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau’s Tourist Development Council will help pay 50 percent of the funds through tourist tax dollars.

“That is the maximum (the Tourist Development Council) pays during emergencies,” she said.

Rooker will also be seeking help from FEMA.

“That’s a long trail, it takes quite awhile to do that, but we have made the request for assistance. What we’re looking to do is to get money back from FEMA to help us pay for the cost of putting the beach back together into its pre-storm condition. Now, we may want to look at if we want to do more than that since some time has gone by. FEMA is never opposed to that. That will pay the part to restore it to pre-storm, then the local entities can look at what they want to do to make it better,” Rooker said.

Once the survey is complete and data is collected, the board will have a meeting with the engineers to decide what the next steps are. It is unclear how long the report will take to finish.